The thick black tar that seeps up into the room from between the floorboards whispers to me and tells me your name. It glistens as it bulges through the cracks into bulging lobes that burst and spill across the floor and cover the room. If I listen closely I can hear it murmur your address, date of birth, social security number, name of firstborn, ...

If I look out the window (I stand up on the bed to do this, so as not to step in it) I can see it bleed up from the ground outside. It comes from between sidewalk tiles, tree roots, eyelids, anywhere two things meet imperfectly and leave a gap between. It comes from inside of things, having been inside, or placed inside, of them all along.

A fly that has been in my room for the last several hours buzzes down and lands in the ooze. It tries to free itself for a moment- looking closely, I can see the little legs dance around in panic- but its feet remain anchored and it is pulled down and under. All that is left is the two glossy pearly translucent films it used to propel itself around my head for hours and then those too sink into the muck and it is gone.

I can find you, the tar whispers. All I need to do is get in my car and start driving and in just a few hours I'll be at your doorstep, smiling and laughing and meeting you for the first time. Every step of this is something I've done before, and can do again, I just need to put the pieces together and do them all at once in the right order one at a time. I obviously don't try to argue with it.

My shoes are on the other side of the room but there's a dresser I can jump to pretty easily. There are photo frames on it, crystallized memories of our past life, that I knock off as my thick awkward body lands on top of them. They hit the goop and are pulled down with sort of a shlurping noise. I dangle my legs down and hook them into my shoes. Their soles are thick enough, having been purchased to endure snowy weather, that they are unaffected by the tar.

The first few steps are hard, and feel like I am pulling apart one thing that had never been two things in the first place, but eventually the shoes come unstuck and I can walk easily around my house. The hallway is pitch black, the lamp having exuded enough sludge to no longer be functional, but I know it like my own body and I head straight for the front door. The door opens easily. I step out into the sunlight and breathe in the fresh tar-soaked air.

The liquid out here flows freely around my feet as I stride down the driveway. I don't know if my neighbors can see me right now and I don't care. All I know is I am finally taking the steps to make myself a better life. I open the car door and get in and drive.


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